Software // Information Management
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6/21/2007
06:57 PM
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Stolen Backup Device Holds Info On 225,000 Ohio Taxpayers

The device was stolen after a state intern took it home as part of a policy that called for one backup device to be kept offsite.

A computer back-up device that was stolen last week from an Ohio state government intern's car contains identifying information on more than 60,000 state employees and 225,000 taxpayers in Ohio.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland announced this week that the device contains the names, Social Security numbers, and check amounts of up to 225,000 taxpayers with un-cashed state personal income tax refund checks and school district income tax refund checks that were issued between 2005 and May 29, 2007. The list, he noted in an online statement, did not contain mailing addresses or bank account information.

The file also includes the names and Social Security numbers of 602 lottery winners who haven't yet cashed checks for their lottery winnings.

This new information was added to last week's announcement that the device contains the names and Social Security numbers of all 64,467 state employees.

"We will continue working hard to make sure that everyone affected by this data theft has up-to-date information as we confirm it," Strickland said in a written statement. "I want to thank all the state employees who are giving their time to staff the call centers to assist their fellow state employees and Ohioans."

The back-up device was stolen when a state intern's car was broken into. The state's IT policy called for one set of backup devices to be stored offsite. The intern had been "inappropriately designated" to store the backup at his home, so had taken it with him or her at the end of the day.

According to the state's advisory, the governor ordered the end of this data management practice, and a review of the events that led to the data being stolen. It also said Strickland will take disciplinary action when the facts of the case are disclosed.

"I have asked the Ohio Highway Patrol to lead the investigation to recover the device," Strickland said. "Also, I have directed the Department of Administrative Services to secure the opportunity for state employees to access free identity theft prevention and protection services for one year."

Taxpayers can search an online database at the State of Ohio's Web site to get additional information on the missing information or to see if their name is listed in the files contained on the stolen device. If the search comes back that the taxpayer's name is on the list, they will be given a pin number that will allow them to sign up for the credit service.

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